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Fort Bend Eyes More Toll Roads After Success of First Two

Last week’s official opening of the Fort Bend Westpark Tollway is the latest, but probably not the last toll project in the county, a sign of the times for local governments looking for ways to fund new road construction Fort Bend County Commissioner Andy Myers is proud of the latest six mile stretch of toll […]

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Last week’s official opening of the Fort Bend Westpark Tollway is the latest, but probably not the last toll project in the county, a sign of the times for local governments looking for ways to fund new road construction

Fort Bend County Commissioner Andy Myers is proud of the latest six mile stretch of toll road that connects the Westpark Tollway in Harris County to the Grand Parkway in Fort Bend County, a road that will eventually pay for itself and one that could eventually generate extra revenue, to build more roads. “The Harris County Toll Road Authority’s toll roads generate $50 or $60 million excess funds a year above their operating costs and their debt,” says Myers. “They’re using those funds, actually that’s what they used to build the Westpark Toll Road. They didn’t go into debt with the Westpark Toll Road, they simply used the funds that they were generating from Beltway 8 and from the Hardy Toll Road to pay for the Westpark Toll Road without issuing any debt.”

Fort Bend County is one of many smaller counties that can’t depend on Tx-Dot funding to build new roads anymore, but is one of the first to take the step of building two toll roads on its own, asking voters to invest in the county’s future.

By taking the county’s transportation infrastruture into its own hands, Myers says Fort Bend has seen tremendous growth, both around the new Westpark corrider and the first tollroad the county built, the Fort Bend Parkway that connects Highway 6 and the South Belt.

Fort Bend County Tollroad Authority Chairman Norm Mason says there’s no doubt the landscape of new road construction has changed and now relies on what local governments can do for themselves instead of depending on state or federal money.

Mason says right now, the Toll Road Authority simply wants to pay for the roads it has and make getting in and out of Fort Bend County as easy as possible.

The next toll road in Fort Bend County might be the section of the Grand Parkway between Highway 59 and Interstate 10. County officials are considering adding overpasses and other upgrades and turning the 19-mile segment into Fort Bend’s third toll road.

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